Paula Garcia Tufro

Paula (ADVIMA, Guatemala): Paula was studying for a Master’s degree in the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown, at the time of her fellowship on Guatemala. Her full name is being withheld at her request.

First Exhumation

02 Jun

I headed out to the exhumation in the afternoon, accompanied by Don Felix and Rutina. The exhumation site consisted of the two forensics experts, the 2 diggers who were hard at work, two observers from ECAP, and 2 police officers, along with a few local folks and family members who sat by and watched the men at work. One of the forensics experts oversaw the actual digging, documenting what they were finding, while the other expert conducted interviews of the surviving family members. They started at 5.5 m depth this morning, and made it to 7.68 m by day´s end. They have found some pieces of clothing, old sandals and some pieces of rope, which they believe was probably rope used to handcuff the victims.

By the end of the day, the relatives began to approach the experts and relating their recollection of the events, seeming confident that the bodies will be found below the stone that the diggers have hit. I hesitated to take pictures most of the afternoon as I did not want to be disrespectful to anyone that was present, particularly as many of the victims´ family members had been there all afternoon. In the end, I was given the go ahead.

After taking a few pictures and seeing how they were turning out, some of the family members expressed the desire of rounding up the surviving family members of all of the victims and taking a picture of them in front of the site. I was obviously happy to oblige and honoured to be asked to document the event. I hope that we can actually round everyone up early next week.

I should note that there has been a bit of controversy around this site as the victims were themselves said to be conspirators and had murdered others before themselves having been murdered. Individuals have expressed being incredulous as to why the experts and the Public Ministry were bothering to dig them up.

Posted By Paula Garcia Tufro

Posted Jun 2nd, 2005

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